DURHAM – The Voice of the Blue Devils, David Shumate, sat down with redshirt junior kicker Charlie Ham for a brief question and answer session.
DS: This is your fourth season here at Duke. What are some of the things you worked on this offseason?
CH: So, this offseason, we had a new snapper come in. We lost John Taylor last year, so one of the main things I was working on this summer was getting the operation down. With Jackson (Hubbard) and Evan (Deckers), obviously bringing in new people, you have to change a little bit, but we fit together pretty well. I also worked on my kickoffs. I really wanted to focus on that. I’m really getting my leg stronger and that was the main focus this summer.
DS: Obviously in high school, you were a good soccer player as well. Player of the year, one of the seasons. I know you’re locked into football, but if you had continued the soccer year; which club, internationally, would you like to have been a part of?
CH: That’s a tough one, honestly. I was always a Barcelona fan growing up, just because I loved the way that Messi played. I was a little bit taller, so I’d like to say I was more like Ronaldo. He played at Real Madrid a little bit and I know he’s with Manchester United, so I like to support Manchester United, because of Ronaldo. I feel like I fit into his role a little bit more.
DS: You guys are playing out in the Midwest. You never know if you’ll get some crazy weather out there. For you, particularly with kicking and everything that goes with that, how much do you study atmospheres or look at the weather as you get set for a game?
CH: Being a kicker, wind can affect kicks, but mentally you want to prepare as if it’s not going to affect the kick at all. Wind can affect your mind before a kick, and stuff like that, so you really want to just home in on your preparation and confidence, not focus on the wind or anything like that.
DS: When you look back at your athletic life, whether it be football or soccer, who has been some of your biggest influences?
CH: Biggest influence obviously is my dad. He’s done anything and everything for me when it comes to things like going to games, practices, doing anything like that. Yeah, I’d really just say my dad, because he’s taken me to Camps when I was younger. He’s taken me across the country to do anything I needed to, to prepare myself for sports. He was really a huge influence on my athletic career, so I can’t thank him enough.
DS: I’ll let you go on this. You guys are a little bit of a trick box, the specialists, because you don’t wear your legs out during practice, but there are team periods where you guys have some time to fill. Who’s the most creative in filling the time during practice?
CH: The most creative? We all have our creative sides; I feel like Collaborating together makes us the most creative group out of all. We got some games of punt-golf going on during camp, and we had 18 holes of punt-golf going on for our walkthroughs. I’d like to say myself, I’m pretty creative when it comes down to that stuff. I like to just find little games to do, on the side.
DS: Did you keep score? Who won?
CH: Oh, I won, of course.